Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I want to talk about what I am personally missing while the world around me seems pretty closed, and of course, comment on what has helped. My situation is surely unique as all of ours is, but maybe by sharing a bit, we can all learn some new tricks and tips.
Perhaps in your neck of the woods, the whole “Shelter at Home” thing is relatively new or maybe not even in effect, but here in Sunny SoCal, we are well into it, and well, it is hard to adjust to the new “normal”. I’ve definitely felt the strange pull of unhealthy mental habits and coping mechanisms, and I think it is important to acknowledge that. The world up and changed on us real quick, and I am in a fortunate position more than most, but even then, it is easy to mourn what we have seemingly lost. But that does not mean I should wallow around in it but rather look to find what I am missing:
Why I play Tabletop Games:
Something that I often mention in more editorial style articles is that Tabletop Gaming is unique in our 21st century world, an analog activity trying to stay afloat in an increasingly digital ocean. Judging 40K does nothing but reinforce to me how imprecise the rules are, the squishy mechanics of moving small plastic and resin models around a 3d board, and the vagaries of human communication. There are surely digital products that produce games that are far more precise, far more tuned to the standard by which we often judge, but then they lack something critical for me: people. I’d much rather play 40K than even my favorite video game.
Tabletop games are a community-driven experience. I love playing 40K (and AoS, and Warcry, and Kill Team), and as games, they are certainly enjoyable, but what makes them special, what makes me want to play, to paint, is the community that these games create. Some of my closest friends are from my gaming circle, but even beyond that, there are plenty of people I just enjoy seeing that I really only see at the game store or an RTT (or in many cases, LVO). This is what I am missing, my community.
I am sure the various digital means to play a game of 40K could scratch the tactical itch, but for me, playing is simply a mechanism to enjoy time with my friends, participating in a shared love. So how do we replicate this when the game stores are closed? How do you get your fix and be responsible citizens?
Well, first, I think acknowledging what you are missing is key. If it is purely the mechanics of the game, playing the game, winning the game, then I am sure the digital mechanisms will work well enough or even various computer RTS game. Reece and many of the LVO judges play Dawn of War together. If you are missing playing, now is a good time to look into digital products that can stretch those tactical muscles.
If you are like me and missing the community, then be sure to utilize the various tools are your disposal. Instant messenger services, Discord, and of course, roll20 or Zoom may talking and even seeing friends pretty quick. While it may seem a bit corny, doing a hobby hang-out night via Zoom is a good way to not only get some progress done on an army, but it gives you a chance to talk and socialize with those in your community. It can also help improve your hobby game as you can see what others are doing, learn new tricks, or get instant feedback as you are working.
Playing other tabletop games that don’t require as much physical interaction like Dungeons and Dragons, Pathfinder, and a whole host of smaller indie games is also very doable via video conferencing, so look into it if you have the bandwidth and the machinery at home. Be open to trying new games, and you might find something that you really enjoy, but at the very least, you are interacting with others.
What also helps me is just going outside. It is easy to get stuck in the rut of managing whatever household responsibilities that you have, but unless your local area forbids any movement outside, go for a walk (or run if you can). One thing that people often forget is that playing 40K and other Tabletop games is a form of exercise as if you have never used a FitBit or other pedometer, you can actually walk a fair bit, plus all the bending over. Orkback is real, after all. Granted, most of us usually don’t eat salads and drink unsweetened tea as we do play, but still, exercise is generally a good thing, so getting some movement is important for your own care. I find that my daily runs really help me clear out some of the nagging feelings that weigh me down, but even taking the kiddo for a walk does something.
Lastly, don’t forget that so many different 40K personalities are out there, many still pushing to create content for you, so go watch, leave a positive message, and in general, just be a source of support. Beyond just the personalities, all the different social media groups are still around, still active, and my best advice, try to be the person that you’d want to talk to at the moment, so don’t stir the pot just to have something to watch. Another thing that is immensely helpful, if you have the means, is to reach out the owners of your favorite hobby small businesses and place some orders, even if you know you won’t get it for some time. Doing good for others is a sure way to help you feel good too.
In general, as I negotiate a small human stuck inside most of the day, and I feel more the less the same as he does, what I realize that I miss the most is the community, and well, it hasn’t gone away. It may be a bit different right now, and we may need to access it differently, but the people that we enjoy are still out there, so we need to reach out. Some may need a hand, so we should be there for them as well.
Stay safe everyone, make sure to be good to each other, and unless a bit of brilliance hits me, I think next week, I’ll go back to some tactics articles, maybe do some list theory with some out of the box Tyranids or just react to the newest GW reveals.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!